Sales Cadence: What is it and how to do it right

In sales, planning is everything.

Whether you’re designing a sales process, writing a sales proposal, or setting up a follow-up sales strategy, you need to have a well-thought-out plan to get the desired results. This plan should get leads flowing into your sales pipeline and also get them to actively engage with your company. 

But in reality, most sales reps don’t have any follow–up plan, more commonly known as a sales cadence. Sometimes, they follow up once, probably twice, and when they don’t get a response, they move to the next prospect. This inconsistency in their follow-up strategy slows down the sales process, resulting in opportunities slipping through the cracks.

Download our best sales cadence templates that will keep your sales funnel always full

Prospects need to hear from you an average of seven times before they decide to make a purchase. So if you’ve given them a call or have sent them an email and they don’t respond, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested. They probably receive hundreds of cold emails each day, and your email may have gotten buried in their inbox. Or, perhaps they read your email but didn’t have the opportunity to respond to it.

You never know unless you follow up with them.

Even if your first email doesn’t get a response, the second email has a 21% chance of being read – Heather Morgan, CEO of SalesFolk

The key to getting a response is to have regular follow-ups with your prospects. To do that, you need to define a sales cadence for your business.

In this article, we’ll talk about:

  1. What is a sales cadence?
  2. Why do you need one?
  3. How do you build your sales cadence?
  4. Example of a good sales cadence
  5. Sales cadence best practices 
  6. How do you measure and track the results?

So, what is a sales cadence?

A sales cadence, in business, is a sequence of touchpoints with a prospect to establish a connection for an engagement or a sale. It is typically a schedule for sales reps to follow up with each prospect via phone, email, social media channels, etc. 

Sales cadence starts at the first point of contact and continues through a sequence of interactions until the prospect is either converted into a sales opportunity or exits the cadence and goes under the nurturing bucket. 

Why do you need a sales cadence?

The whole idea of a sales cadence is to diversify your outreach by getting in touch with prospects across multiple channels. Some prospects are more receptive over the phone, while some may prefer email or social media. Therefore, it’s crucial for your sales cadence to include multiple channels to connect with a prospect. Adopting a sales cadence helps not only your organization but also your sales reps.

How a sales cadence helps sales reps 

  1. Sales reps have a follow-up sequence of calls and emails for every prospect that comes into your CRM system. A structured framework eliminates guesswork and maintains consistency between every prospective customer interaction.
  2. Sales reps can close more deals in a short period by following up with your prospects regularly. This ensures that your leads are moving across the stages in your sales funnel

How a sales cadence helps businesses 

  1. Outbound prospecting can bring you quality leads. But without a follow-up strategy, the conversion rate would be stagnant. Combining a sales cadence with your outbound sales strategy can boost conversion rates and help your business gain momentum.
  2. A sales cadence is designed so that every sales rep follows the same process. Following a consistent sales cadence that works for your business is one of the primary keys for predicting accurate numbers.

How to build a sales cadence

Building a sales cadence is not a one-time process. It differs based on the target market, persona, region, product/service, etc. It involves a trial and error approach until you find a cadence that works best for your unique business needs. But the concept and the foundation remains the same — a timeline of when and how to contact your prospects. 

Sales Cadence Keys

Here are seven points to follow while designing your sales cadence: 

    1. Understand your target audience

      Research and understand who your potential customers are, what platform they are most active on, what their pain points are, and how your solution would benefit them.

    2. The medium of communication:

      A good sales cadence includes email, phone calls, voicemail, text messages, social media channels, etc. to reach out to prospects. Come up with a list to platforms where your customers are most likely to be active. If your prospect is more responsive to LinkedIn Inmails than phone calls, use that to your advantage by including it in your cadence.

    3. The number of contact attempts:

      You need to contact a prospect at least seven times to get their attention. So, an ideal cadence should have anywhere between 8-12 touchpoints.

    4. The spacing of the touchpoints:

      Touching base with a prospect more than thrice a day is sure to get on their nerves, and it increases your chances of losing the deal. Make sure you give a day or two before contacting them again.

    5. Duration of the cadence:

      Duration is the length of the sales cadence—from the first touch point to the last. The ideal duration of your sales cadence should be about two to four weeks. This, of course, depends on the prospect’s engagement with your email and phone call.

    6. Categorizing targets:

      One of the best approaches to building a sales cadence is to first segment your list into tier accounts one, two and three. You can do it by categorizing them by industry, company size, persona, region, etc. For example, enterprise organizations can fall into tier 1, while mid-market and SMBs to tier 2 and tier 3 respectively. Similarly, you can categorize them based on professional hierarchy — decision makers to tier 1, mid-level managers to tier 2, and lower–level managers to tier 3.
      Once you divide your contact list to tiers, you can design a cadence for each tier based on how to approach them, the number of touch points, the duration of the cadence, and social media channels.

    7. The Content:

      The chances of your prospect getting back to you depend on the quality of your email contents. To catch your prospect’s attention, your content must be intriguing and informative. If you have a killer sales cadence but mediocre content, your cadence strategy won’t take off the ground.

Read more about how you can build a sales cadence for your business

 

Example of a good sales cadence 

As mentioned earlier, your sales cadence can vary based on the persona you are reaching out to, the target industry, the size of the company and other such factors.  Here’s an example of a sales cadence to approach a top-level executive. 

Sales Cadence Example

Day 1: Send a personalized email

Start by finding out more about your prospects by using social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Understand their business and how your product/service can benefit them. Then, send a personalized email using the data you have gathered about them, followed by a connection request on LinkedIn. 

“Congratulations on <prospect’s achievement>! It is not easy to get to your position without hard work and dedication. Your journey through the <prospect’s industry> has been truly inspiring.

I did a fair amount of research about your company and I’ve shared a few of my thoughts that could help boost productivity:

<List how your solution helps their business perform better>”

Day 3: Send an email pitching your product/service

Send an email empathizing with their pain points. Bring in specific business use cases, and express your thoughts on how your product/service would help them. 

“I am reaching out to you because <pain points>. 

<Your solution>. We recently worked with <competitor’s name> on similar lines. 

Is this of priority for you to stay on top? If yes, what’s the best way to get 15 mins of your time?“

Day 6: Send the first follow-up email

Keep the first follow-up email short and crisp. The goal of this email is to get a simple “Yes” or “No” from the prospect.  

For example, your email could say –

“I just wanted to follow up to see if you received my email.. It would be great if we could have short email exchanges or a phone call— to decide if you would like to take this forward. Please do let me know if you have a couple of minutes to spare some time this week.

Day 8: Make a phone call in the evening. Leave a voicemail and email if unanswered

Make your first call to the prospect. If it goes unanswered, leave a voicemail with your name and phone number. Request for a callback at a time convenient for the prospect.

Here’s a voicemail script you can use: 

“Hi {prospect’s name}, I am Nate. I am reaching out to you regarding the email I’d sent for {product}. I just need a few minutes of your time. Please let me know when you are available to jump into a quick call. You can reach me at {Phone number}” 

Also, drop an email to them saying you tried calling them.

Day 11: Send the second follow-up email

The second follow-up email should essentially be about features of your product/service, that are relevant to your prospect’s pain points.

Your email could start with-

“I am following up on a couple of emails I sent about < product/service>…”

And go on to list the features.

Day 13: Send the third follow-up email

Send a third follow-up email with case studies and success stories of how you have helped other businesses. 

Day 16: Breakup email

This would be your last email in this communication chain. You could begin your email by saying – 

“I’ve tried to reach you a few times to go over suggestions on how to improve your {department that uses your solution}, but haven’t heard back.”

One last time, highlight their challenges and remind them of how your solution can help.
End the email on a positive note, and leave an open door for future opportunities. For example, you could say –

“Do let me know if we can sync up towards the end of Q3 or early Q4 to explore potential collaborations.”

Sales cadence best practices 

  1. It’s a myth that the best days to cold call and set-up meetings are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Our sales team at Freshworks have had opportunities and meetings scheduled on Mondays and Fridays as well, which have also proven to be positive.
  2. The best time to cold call is from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Making a cold call is less about you, and more about who your prospects are and where they are from. If your prospects are high–level and mid-level managers, they are usually available during the start of the day. But if your prospects are employees, they are most likely to be available post lunch and during the latter part of the day.
    Our SDR team at Freshworks has put together a list of best timings to call prospects based on regions.call cadence timingThe worst time to make a cold call to prospects in any region is between 8:00 am – 10:00 am. During this time, everyone is rushing to work and preparing for the day, and attending a sales call would not even feature on their priority list.
  3. But on the other hand, the worst time to call is the best time to email. Most workplaces open between 9 and 10 am. Once employees are in office, the first hour is generally spent checking emails and organizing the day. During this hour, your email has a higher chance of visibility. Sending an email during their transit period places your email on top, and would be among the first they see as they open their inbox. Emails that are sent late in the evening or early morning have a chance of being missed.
  4. You can make up to three touchpoints in a day. For example, if your touchpoint is over a call and your prospect does not pick up the phone, you can leave a voicemail and send an email. But make sure you don’t have more than three on the same day. You don’t want to risk frustrating your prospects.
  5. “Yes” from a prospect is what sales reps want to hear. “No” is a little difficult to take, but you move on to other prospects. But if the prospect does not respond to any of your touchpoints, it could mean two things — they are interested but didn’t get a chance to respond, or they don’t want to move forward with you. This is when you send a breakup email. Your breakup email should empathize with their pain point, apologize for any inconvenience that you may have caused, affirm that you are closing the communication chain, and finally leave an opportunity for them to get back to you anytime in the future
  6. When you receive a ‘No’ from a prospect, try to understand the reason for the rejection. This may be because they already use a competitor product, or don’t have the budget or the need for it.

    Winning provides happiness. Losing provides wisdom – Niel Patel

    Knowing the reason for the lost opportunity will help you identify patterns and improve your product/service.

How to measure and track the results?

Manually following up with prospects can be quite a challenge, especially when you are dealing with a high volume of leads. There are sales efficiency tools and even some CRM systems that leverages technology to automate the sales cadence.

Using these tools, you can gain insights into how many leads have entered and exited the sales cadence, the email open and click rate, and the number of follow-ups made in social media channels and over a phone call.

Once you have a sales cadence, you need to know if it is working for you. To judge the success of your sales cadence, you need to track the following four metrics:

  1. Email open and click rate:

    If your mail has been opened, then you’ve nailed the subject line and caught the prospect’s attention. If they’ve clicked on the links that you have shared, it implies that your email content has intrigued your prospect enough to prompt an action. Email open and click rate shows you when there is room to tweak or change the email outreach strategy.

  2. Email open to reply ratio:

    A high reply rate tells you that the email content resonates with the prospect’s needs and pain points. If you don’t get a good reply rate, your email content needs work. 

  3. Call to appointments ratio:

    Tracking the number of calls that have resulted in appointments helps you know if you are targeting your ideal customer profile. It also tells you which geographies, industries, and markets you should focus on, and where you should hold off.

  4. Bounce rate:

    Bounce rate shows you a gist of how clean your email list is. High bounce rates show that it is time to prune your email list.

A sales cadence ensures that leads don’t fall through the cracks and are moving across stages in your sales funnel. Test the sales cadences that you build and adjust as needed until you find what works best for your business

You can read all about how Arvinda Bharathi, one of our SDRs, won a meeting with a Fortune 100 company using a good sales cadence.

If you follow a sales cadence, let us know your workflow, and what’s working and what’s not. Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Download our best sales cadence templates that will keep your sales funnel always full

Sales campaigns in Freshsales CRM helps you automate and measure the success of your sales cadence. Signup for a free 21-day trial today.

Co-Author: